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Lung Cancer in Non-smoking Women ...

Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 2009

Nov 2005 my mom was diagnosed with Bronchioalveolar (BAC), and had her left upper lobe removed. What was crazy about this is my Mom is a non-smoker. After asking questions and reading about this cancer we learned that this strain of cancer is in non-smoking women, and makes up a small percent of lung cancers.
Shortly after surgery she did chemo, it made her very ill. Every side effect possible, she had. When chemo was done, she began to heal, get stronger, and back to the way she was before in just under a year.
The next 3 yrs she did CAT scans, lab work, and saw her oncologist. She was more health aware, than before. She was living & eating right, and the CAT scans were showing cancer free; until this Feb 2009, 3 yrs from first diagnoses. A shadow appeared, and the doc wanted more test, x-rays, and scans.
Mar 16 she had surgery, the plan was to remove the upper right lobe. But that didn't work out, all they were able to remove was a few tumors to test. The test confirmed what the doctors thought, the cancer had returned.
The doctors say the chemo will not cure it, they hope it will shirk the tumors, and prevent new ones. Her oncologist wanted to wait for her to heal from surgery before starting any chemo. Three weeks ago the surgon released her, and chemo was in motion to start.
Until 2 wks ago, May 16th. She couldnt breath, and admitted in the hospital. Over night at first, but she got worse, fast. She was on oxygen set to 3-4, next day set to 5, and that night 7-8.
After a few xrays & scans they determined she had fuild around her lungs. First they drained over 2 litters of fluid. After testing the fluid, it came back as cancer as well. Over the next 48hrs over 8 litters of fuild was drained, and a chest drainage tube put in.
Her cancer has become very aggressive, moving rapidly through her body. in a matter of 3 days it had tripled in growth.
Now it is out of the lungs, moving into her body, going up in her shoulder & neck ... it is just time that it reached her brain. Doctors told her she is terminal, the cancer is in the final stage. There is nothing medically that can be done, just keep her comfortable and control her pain.
All she does is sleep, we are lucky if we get her to take a few sipps of water, or a bite of pudding. She seems confused and sometime does not under stand what is being said to her.

I just would like to know, how long is the Final stage? because just watching my mom go from a healthy active women to where she is now, who can not even hold a cup to drink from in little over a 8 days, it is crushing me.
~ thank you ~ Deb

Glenna M's picture
Glenna M
Posts: 1576
Joined: May 2009


I am so sorry to hear about your mother. I am by no means an expert on this subject but I don't believe there is any time frame for the "final stage" it is different for all cancer patients. I lost my brother to lung cancer in April of 08, after they told us that they couldn't do anything more for him he was placed in a Hospice House to await the end. He was only there for 5 days during which time the entire family spent every minute we could with him. We just held his hand and talked to him, telling him how much we loved him, even though he slept through most of our visits it was comforting to us just to be there with him. We all stayed strong for him and when we needed to cry we left the room so he wouldn't know. Finally we all told him individually that it was okay to give up the fight, if he felt he needed to let go it was okay. He passed away the next morning and we all feel that he was just hanging on waiting for us to tell him it was okay if he was too tired to fight anymore. I know how hard that is to do but I suggest you spend as much time as possible with her, hold her hand and talk to her about all the good times and the fun you have had and how much you will always love her.

Please know that I am sitting here crying as I write this as I understand what your going through and only wish there was something I could say to help ease your pain.

Bless you and your family.

Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 2009

Glenna ...
I am sorry it taken me a few days to reply, and say Thank you for your kind words.
My mom answered my question of how long, This evening was the end to my mom's final stage, and is in no more pain.

Glenna M's picture
Glenna M
Posts: 1576
Joined: May 2009

I really am at a loss for words as most of the things people say - "at least she's not suffering" "she's in a better place" are all cold insensitive remarks as far as I'm concerned.

I just want to say my heart goes out to you in your time of sorrow and try to stay strong. The day my brother passed away was a beautiful sunny spring day and I just told myself that it was because he was smiling down on all of us letting us know that he was finally at peace and happy again since his battle was finally over. I guess you just have to do and think whatever it takes to get you through this. Please try to concentrate on all the good times with your mother and not dwell on sad memories of her illness.

Please take care of yourself.
Sincerely, Glenna

MadelynJoe's picture
Posts: 96
Joined: Sep 2003

Dear Deb:

I want to send you and your family my heartfelt sympathy regarding the death of your Mother. I know how painful that is because I lost my Mother to lung cancer almost 20 years ago. Hers too was very aggressive and she was diagnosed on a Thursday and died the following Monday. Unfortunately, some cancers are very aggressive and grow surprisingly quick. I am sorry this was the case with your Mom.

I will tell you what helped pull me through the mind numbing grief that I felt after my Mother died. One day, many months after her death, I realized that death could take her but the love she had for me would never die; it would always remain in my heart. This thought has given me much comfort.

By the way, I too was diagnosed with lung cancer 4 years ago and today I am cancer free. I tell everyone that will listen how blessed I am to be free of cancer.

Best regards,


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